The importance of water to the health of the human body can’t be overstated, yet fully 75% of us are chronically dehydrated.
Water makes up nearly 85 percent of your brain, about 80 percent of your blood, and about 70 percent of lean muscle. In total your body is about 70 percent water, so lack of water — dehydration — will seriously impact your health.
Water is responsible for a variety of functions, including blood flow, digestion, and body temperature regulation, and it greatly impacts the environment and structure of your cells. According to Doug Casa, PhD, evidence shows that the body will only tolerate a loss of one to two percent of the total amount of water before it triggers the sensation of thirst and the cue to drink. These cues stay on track and properly timed because our brains, kidneys, various glands, and hormones work in concert to monitor the amount of water that we’re taking in relative to how much we’re losing.
But, if our bodies are so good at regulating our water needs, then why are seventy-five percent of Americans chronically dehydrated? Well, it seems that we have become so stressed and busy that we ignore the signals of our bodies and fail to give them what they need. Also, many of us consume food and drink, such as coffee and high-salt foods, that increase our state of dehydration.
We all know, of course, that we should be drinking more. The “eight glasses a day” prescription has almost become a health mantra, although many scientists have abandoned this rule as overly generalized. There are too many factors to consider, such as exercise habits and kidney function, to paint everyone with the same brush, but the importance of water in all of your health functions, and the general tendency to drink too little during the day, means that “more is better” for most people. Also, over-hydration is much easier for the body to deal with than dehydration.
You can get hydration from foods rich in water, from most drinks that aren’t diuretic (such as coffee and tea), and of course, from pure water. The old saying “flowing water never grows stale” applies to your body as well. Hydration is more than just drinking water; it is also using it. Exercise that causes elevated temperatures releases the water from your body in the form of sweat and respiration, and you will naturally drink more water to replace it. In this way, you cleanse and purify your whole body with water, like taking dirty water from a pool and replacing it with fresh, clean water.
Water is also critical to energy production in the body, largely thanks to one of the atoms in the H2O molecule: hydrogen. Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe and is also the lightest, floating on the top of the periodic table in the number one position. It is responsible for producing ATP, the main chemical energy supply in the body, as well as for holding our DNA coils together with hydrogen bonds. Antioxidants are a huge trend in the health industry and people pay lots of money for exotic fruit and special pills to get them. However, hydrogen, with its small, simple nature, has earned the nickname “ultimate antioxidant” because it protects the body from free radical damage as well as any expensive vitamin. Hydrogen is critical to your health, and enters your body through the most important compound on Earth — water.
Bo Yoga® teachers will often encourage you to drink before and after training, as well as during if needed. In a Bo Yoga class, it is unlikely that you will need to replace electrolytes as endurance athletes do, so pure water is recommended over sports drinks. Drinking enough water and moving the water through your system, internally and externally, are both important parts of Bo Yoga practice. And, the best way to move the hydrogen and the oxygen that are so vital for your energy and health is through proper exercise, so water and exercise work in tandem to keep you energized and strong.
Finally, don’t forget to learn water’s wise energy lesson. Sages and poets through the century have praised water’s ability to move around obstacles with ease. Margaret Atwood, in her novel The Penelopiad, summed it up well: “Water does not resist. Water flows. When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is a caress. Water is not a solid wall; it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it. Water is patient. Dripping water wears away a stone. Remember that, my child. Remember you are half water. If you can’t go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does.”
As you progress in Bo Yoga and begin to master the various movements and postures of the practice, you will naturally learn to flow in a similar way with the energies of life. Like water flowing around rocks in a stream, you will move around obstacles, moving effortlessly toward the life of your dreams.
If you think you may be in the 75 percent of people who are chronically dehydrated and you want to drink more water, how about some easy tips that you can start today? Click the link:
What are your favorite ways to stay hydrated?
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